Handbook on Women in Business and Management
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Handbook on Women in Business and Management

Edited by Diana Bilimoria and Sandy Kristin Piderit

This comprehensive Handbook presents specially commissioned original essays on the societal roles and contexts facing women in business and management, the specific career and work–life issues of women in these fields, organizational processes affecting women, and the role of women as leaders in business and management. The essays shed light on the extant structures and practices of society and organizations that constrain or facilitate women’s representation, treatment, quality of life, and success.
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Chapter 8: Integration of Career and Life

Mireia Las Heras and Douglas T. Hall


Mireia Las Heras and Douglas T. (Tim) Hall Introduction In the battle of Lepanto, 1571, the European troops called on Holy Mary asking her ‘to stop the sun’ so there would be more daylight hours to complete the battle. Apparently she did, and the Europeans defeated the invading troops. Whether this story is true or not, in today’s work world people’s days only have 24 hours, although professional work and other personal undertakings seem to require much more than that. The complexity of roles and demands lead to difficulties in coping in both family and work domains. This chapter advocates the concept of integration as a key concept for understanding work–life issues. Human life is a complex system, and as such, over the last decades, researchers have begun to realize that the various domains of an individual’s life interact with each other and must be studied in an integrated manner and within a common framework (Carlson and Kacmar, 2000). Senge (1990) points out that although decomposition seems a reasonable way of dealing with complex problems, it has significant limitations in a world of tight couplings and non-linear feedbacks. He claims that the defining characteristic of a system is that it cannot be understood as a function of its isolated components; it must be viewed as a whole to be fully comprehended. Scott (2003) similarly argues that, ‘no complex system can be understood by an analysis that attempts to decompose the system into its individual parts as...

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